The cost of the 3rd Bosporus Bridge to be paid by the public!

The 3rd bridge over the Bosporus and the Northern Marmara Highway, construction of which has caused great damage in İstanbul’s last remaining forested areas and water basins, are being opened today. The company that is to run the operations has been granted a warrant from the country’s Treasury based on a provision of 135,000 vehicles passing through the bridge, which has been bragged about by the government officials as the ‘widest bridge of the world.’ It turns out that the cost will once again be paid by the citizens!

BİRGÜN DAİLY 26.08.2016 15:15
The cost of the 3rd Bosporus Bridge to be paid by the public!
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RABİA YILMAZ / @rabiaylmaz

The 3rd Bosporus Bridge and Northern Marmara Highway, for which the constructions were started off on 29 May 2013, has a cost of 3 billion dollars. Having received great reaction from the public and opposition groups because of the ecological damage it has caused and the place it has created for giving away north of İstanbul for rent, the Bridge and the Highway is being opened with a ceremony today.

With its 1408 meters long width and 2164 meters long length, the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge is bragged about for being the ‘world’s widest bridge so far’. When the very initial construction steps were taken, the area used to be a mainly forested land. After the 39 months long construction, there are now irreversible damages in the area. Very often criticized and objected by urban planning experts and architects, this project has been actualized in an area where İstanbul’s last remaining forest areas and majority of water basins used to be located.

Experts had also frequently warned about the damages that the 1st and 2nd Bosporus bridges would have caused on forests and water basins; and, the same warnings, including those on improper expansion of urbanization, have also been repeated for the 3rd bridge. Meanwhile, the current government officials have claimed that the 3rd bridge would not encourage expansion of urbanization; that it would not damage the nature; and, that passages would be enabled through new tunnels. However, they began making official decisions on the details of the project, it has been revealed that the construction phase has not proceeded in line with the initial claims of the government.

What is left over after the damage is ‘an Ecological Bridge’

While the 3rd Bosporus Bridge and the Northern Marmara Highway has greatly damaged the forests and ecological life in the area, a so-claimed ‘ecological bridge’ has also been built over the highway for animals to cross over.

A large section of the Northern Marmara Highway passes through a forested area, while certain other parts of it are over or through residences and villas.

A warrant from the Treasury

The construction of the bridge and the highway has cost 3 billion dollars; and, the toll rate per vehicle per passage has been announced as 9,90 TL. The IC İçtaş-Astaldi JV, the company that will run the administration of the bridge for the following 10 years, 2 months, and 20 days, has been given the guaranty, from the Treasury, of 135,000 passages per day. The same agreement was also applied for the also recently opened Osmangazi Bridge (in Kocaeli), and, it was again objected by many, as this kind of a regulation puts the financial burden over the citizens.

Advertisement of the 3rd bridge by AKP: ‘They are jealous of us!’

An advertisement of the 3rd bridge prepared by AKP was rather striking: in the commercial, two foreigners carry a dialogue about the bridge, where they say ‘This is absolutely a wonder of engineering! I have not seen anything like this anywhere in the world! Let’s see what else the Turks are going to do!’.

The assertions in this advertisement have reminded of President Erdoğan’s earlier messages where he had said, referring to foreign countries, ‘They are jealous of us’.


‘Cutting down of over 3 million trees’

Environmental civil society group KOS (Northern Forests’ Defense) gave a press briefing in Taksim, İstanbul yesterday (August 25) about the 3rd bridge.

Noting that just as the 2nd bridge has not solved İstanbul’s traffic problem, the 3rd bridge were not going to, either, member of the group Seda Erhan said: “Bridges cannot lower the density of traffic; they create their own flow of traffic because what the bridges carry are not passengers, they are cars. The problem with İstanbul’s traffic is due to lack of usage of public transportation sufficiently. 3rd bridge is not the solution because it will lead to construction of new dwellings near the remaining forest areas and water basins. As this increase of population around the bridge will not be a solution for the traffic, it will also cost us our water and oxygen...Over 3 million trees will be cut down. And, this will cause diminishing of forests, increase of floods, shrinking and pollution of water basins.”

‘What will the public pay for it?’

Reminding that as it was the case with other similar ‘projects’, Erhan said this project has also been carried out ‘in the name of economic development’, although the cost will eventually be paid off through public ‘Treasury’ and from citizens’ pocket. Erhan added: “Officials give statements claiming that ‘the public has not paid even a cent for this project’, although this is not the case. The public has the right to know what exactly is coming out of its pocket.”


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